Dr Skevington’s £320k award, which starts in July 2023, will support his research activities over the next three years with a particular focus on the mixing that takes place at the head of gravity currents.
Gravity currents are a broad family of fluid flows that are present in our homes, industries, and the wider environment: the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of ventilation flows in the transmission of airborne viruses; and news reports regularly focus on the devastation caused by natural disasters such as power-snow avalanches or the pyroclastic density currents from volcanic eruptions. His research seeks to address limitations in the current models used to understand and predict gravity currents in academia, industry, and for geohazard risk management.
Dr Ed Skevington, NFFDy Research Fellow, said: “Gravity currents are key to many natural and industrial processes, but there are great gaps in our understanding of how they work. By developing new mathematical models that incorporate additional physics, particularly the intense mixing and erosion at the leading front of the current, we will be able to contribute to more accurate predictions for natural disasters as well as a greater understanding of viral transmission in enclosed spaces.”
Dr Skevington is part of the Fluid Dynamics Group, a cross-faculty research network, led by the Energy and Environment Institute. As part of the fellowship, he will be working closely with the universities of Cambridge, Dundee, Nottingham, Illinois, Manchester, Leeds and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, as well as the Turbidities Research Group, which spans a number of universities, including Hull. Dr Skevington’s fellowship will feed into academic understanding amongst the Fluids Research community and will help to build a reliable modelling system that will better able society to address ongoing and future challenges.
Dr Robert Dorrell, Fluid Dynamics Group Lead, said: “Ed is an exceptional academic and his research is helping to cement the University of Hull’s place at the heart of the international Fluids community, building on existing work by our group on the enigmatic nature of highly energetic turbulent flows that play a critical role shaping the Earth’s surface and in key industrial processes.”
The University of Hull’s Energy and Environment Institute has established a national laboratory for environmental flows and fluid dynamics, following a £700k NERC award to purchase new state-of-the-art equipment. The lab enables researchers to make crucial advances in the measurement of environmental flows and fluid dynamics, from lab settings to the real world. The equipment has been used to investigate the flow of water filled with sediments, how pollutants like microplastics are dispersed by rivers and oceans, and the impact of tides and waves on wind turbine towers, and is also available for national use, for the benefit of industry and academia.